Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What do you mean? Of course they’ll take it the wrong way!

The usual reaction when an article like Fareed Zakaria recently wrote for Newsweek (he is also the Editor of its’ international edition), is for them to dwell on American, even if the writer has something serious to say about Europe. And he does:

«It's often noted that the European Union has a combined gross domestic product that is approximately the same as that of the United States. But the EU has 170 million more people. Its per capita GDP is 25 percent lower than that of the U.S. and, most important, that gap has been widening for 15 years. If present trends continue, the chief economist at the OECD argues, in 20 years the average U.S. citizen will be twice as rich as the average Frenchman or German. (Britain is an exception on most of these measures, lying somewhere between Continental Europe and the U.S.)

People have argued that Europeans simply value leisure more and, as a result, are poorer but have a better quality of life. That's fine if you're taking a 10 percent pay cut and choosing to have longer lunches and vacations. But if you're only half as well off as the U.S., that will translate into poorer health care and education, diminished access to all kinds of goods and services, and a lower quality of life.»
Consider this bit of delusion. Many in Europe repeat over and over without any evidence say that violent collapse of civilization due to climate change is inevitable. At the same time, decades of impirically derived evidence of economic malaise is shrugged off as if they though that condemning their children to a hunter-gatherer seems reasonable. Who needs teeth anyway, eh?
«And I haven't even gotten to the demographics. In 25 years, the number of working-age Europeans will decline by 7 percent, while those over 65 will increase by 50 percent. One solution: let older people work. But Europe's employment rate for people over 60 is low: 7 percent in France and 12 percent in Germany (compared with 27 percent in the U.S.). Modest efforts to allow people to retire later have been met with the usual avalanche of protests. And while economists and the European Commission keep proposing that Europe take in more immigrants to expand its labor force, it won't. The cartoon controversy has powerfully highlighted the difficulties Europe is having with its existing immigrants.

What does all this add up to? Less European influence in the world. Europe's position in institutions like the World Bank and the IMF relates to its share of world GDP. Its dwindling defense spending weakens its ability to be a military partner of the U.S., or to project military power abroad even for peacekeeping purposes. Its cramped, increasingly protectionist outlook will further sap its vitality.»
It really really REALLY needs to be said for the millionth time – this lack of growth of theirs’, any way you try to sell it, creates scarcity and poverty. Period. Costly social policies are reducing development to the point where the openings in the safety net will widen to a size larger then the egos of the social elites.

In short – they have to grow up. They have children to raise and their elders to love and care for. You can’t do that on the backs of your neighbors if they already succumbed to the nebulous lumbago of social feebleness.

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